Transparency, Triple-Tested & How to Read a Cannabis Certificate of Analysis (COA)[email protected]
By Cyrus Sepahbodi
The core values of Papa & Barkley is providing our loved ones with the cleanest and most effective cannabis products possible. For us, clean means our whole plant infusion process, sourcing the best cannabis and input ingredients, and testing above and beyond state regulations. Many cannabis brands talk about how testing is important, but many people have never seen a cannabis testing Certificate of Analysis (COA). As part of our commitment to transparency, we’ll explain our testing process, what we test for in our products and how to read a cannabis testing certificate of analysis to find the information you need.
Why is Testing Cannabis Important?
The Bureau of Cannabis Control (BCC) is the regulatory body for the cannabis industry in California. Among the many regulations that the BCC controls, enforcing the guidelines of testing for cannabis products is among the most important. Every single product whether it is a topical, ingestible, transdermal, or inhalable must be tested according to the laws and regulations of the state. We ensure each product is consistent by triple-testing at key points for 66 pesticides, 5 microbials and 10 residual solvents. We test the input cannabis from the farm, we test after it’s blended, and finally, we test the packaged product. Every product we make is certified by state and national standards with a Certificate of Analysis (COA).
The Bureau of Cannabis Control’s guidelines for testing.
What is a Cannabis Testing Certificate of Analysis (COA)?
State mandated testing is vitally important to ensure that all cannabis products are safe and clean for our customers, but we go above and beyond those guidelines because of our commitment to clean. A cannabis testing Certificate of Analysis is a document that outlines the testing results of a cannabis product. Below, I’ll go into the most important aspects of a COA and what is important to note when looking at one.
What Do We Test For?
Here is a comprehensive list of what Papa & Barkley tests for:
- Cannabinoid potency: Describes accuracy of what cannabinoids are present and their potency in terms of milligrams (mg).
- Terpenes: Shows precisely which terpenes are naturally present in the product and the amount.
- Residual solvents: We test to ensure that no byproducts are present in our final products. Residual solvents are typically associated with harsher chemical extraction methods, something we avoid entirely by using whole plant infusion.
- Pesticides: Pesticides represent the leading cause of failed testing in the industry. We believe that the most potent and effective cannabis plants are grown without the use of pesticides. To ensure this, we source from farms that do not use pesticides, but rely upon organic practices and regenerative methods. We test for 66 pesticides to make sure there are no traces of any pesticides in our products.
- Microbial pathogens: Microbial pathogens show predominantly as mold or mildew, and we test for any microbials throughout the process so that our products do not contain any pathogens whatsoever.
- Foreign materials: Among other categories for testing we want to make sure that there are no foreign materials in our products. We test for any foreign cominants outside of pesticides, pathogens, heavy metals, and mycotoxins.
- Heavy metals: Fertilizers and soils can contain heavy metals that can enter the plants. Because cannabis plants are a bioaccumulator, testing that heavy metals are never present in our products is just as important as sourcing from farms that have done extensive testing on their soils and fertilizers.
- Mycotoxins: The cultivation conditions of growing cannabis can create mold or fungi on the plant—which are the basis of mycotoxins. We ensure that our input material is tested so that there are no traces of mycotoxins and we test throughout our process so that there are never any mycotoxins by the time our products are in your hands.
How to Read a Cannabis COA
Take a look at the summary section [diagram: SECTION A] at the top left of the COA. There are six main boxes that describe the status of the tests: Total Cannabinoids, Pesticides, Residual Solvents, Microbials, Mycotoxins, and Heavy Metals. Each box represents extensive testing for specific contaminants that are harmful- and in the case of this COA each test was passed. Take a look at the box under the image titled Cannabinoids [diagram: SECTION B], every item in this box is the precise cannabinoids with corresponding amounts (in milligrams) of the cannabinoid potency of the balm. The box beside this shows the terpene analysis and the corresponding potency in terms of milligrams as well.
This page [diagram: SECTION C] is dedicated to the 66 pesticides we test for in our products. Notice the letters ‘ND’ after each pesticide mentioned? ND stands for not detected.
When you hold a Papa & Barkley product in your hands, you’ll probably notice the word solventless on our packaging. The reason is that our unique and proprietary whole plant infusion process ensures that we capture the cannabinoids, terpenes, and vital phytonutrients as beneficial plant matter. Our process, unlike many other popular methods, captures the essence of the whole plant without using any solvents or chemicals. This page of the COA tests for all Residual Solvents [diagram: SECTION D] possible, and just like with the previous page the ‘ND’ refers to not detected.
This page is dedicated to the results of testing for Microbials, Mycotoxins, and Heavy Metals [diagram: SECTION E]. In each section you can see that testing for these three categories have all passed with below the level of detection or not detected whatsoever.
Cleaner for You, Cleaner for Everyone Instead of relying on chemical or harsh extraction methods that yield isolates or distillates, we use a proprietary solventless whole plant infusion process. Our formulations are slow-cooked using only heat, water, and pressure. The result are products that have an earthy, green color full of valuable chlorophyll, phytonutrients, cannabinoids, terpenes, and natural plant matter. When you use Papa & Barkley products, you can be sure they’re truly full spectrum, 100% solventless and chemical free. We let the plant work its magic all on its own.
How to Find or Ask for a Product COA
The easiest way to find a COA is to check on the brand’s website or to contact the company directly over the phone. For example, Papa & Barkley’s national line carries COA’s for our products directly on the site. They are also available for all our products by calling customer service (844) 234-8416, emailing [email protected], or visiting www.papaandbarkley.com/contact-us
What to Look For When Considering a New Cannabis Product
Now that you know how to read a COA, here are the things to look for any time you’re considering a product or brand:
- What cannabinoids are present in the product and what’s the milligram count.
- What terpenes are present and how much of each terpene are in the product.
- Does the product have any residual pesticides?
- Does the product have residual solvents?
- Does the product have any foreign bodies like microbials, mycotoxins, mold, mildew, or fungus?
- Does the product have heavy metals?
These are all important questions to have answered by a COA before considering purchasing a cannabis product. Don’t forget, your body is sacred and what you put in it is important. A cleaner cannabis product means better for you and more effective.